Secret research for the best Christmas ever – A la recherche du Noël parfait


(En Français plus bas)

My search for the perfect Christmas did not really need to take place since, for me, all that’s needed for Christmas to be perfect is to have my family around me… However this year, I am the one hosting the event and I want everything to be perfect. We will be 30 including 9 children under 8 years of age. My role as the grand uncle is to create a magical evening that they will remember when they are all grown up. I love to imagine them talking at the Christmas table 40 years from now: ” Do you remember those incredible Christmas eves at uncle Stéphane’s? These were the good old days… ” I am such an egotistic idiot. They may very well have forgotten I even existed by then; and that’s OK too! As long as they have a great time for Christmas this year, I’m happy! Let’s live in the moment!!

My menu is ready (of course) and I am now researching deco ideas. What interests me  most this year are wreaths, table cards, candles and cookies…

I started a board on Pinterest where I throw all the Christmas ideas I find interesting. You can access it by clicking HERE. I will update this board regularly as we get closer to the date.

I expect that some people will ask for details on my dinner menu, so I included it below :0) The gravlax recipe is somewhere on the blog. Click here to be redirected . The other recipes are also on the blog, but I have to update them… Do not go check them out; I beg of you! The pictures are terrible and you will not want to make the dishes!

  • Aperitif: Foie gras + Shrimp Tempura with spicy sauce
  • Appetizer: Gravlax with warm potatoes and assorted homemade sauces and dips
  • First dish : Calamari in Cognac tomato sauce (Calamars à l’Américaine)
  • Second course: Lamb shanks in mushroom, Port, grapes and balsamic vinegar
  • Cheeses from Pierre’s
  • Pastries from Lopez
  • Breads from Marie

Most of the photos in this post aren’t mine. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are the owner of one of them and want them removed.

Ma recherche du Noël parfait n’a pas vraiment lieu d’être, puisque, pour moi, le Noël parfait, c’est quand j’ai toute ma famille autour de moi… Cette année cependant, c’est moi qui reçoit je veux que tout soit parfait. Nous serons 30 dont 9 enfants de moins de 8 ans. Mon rôle d’oncle est de créer une soirée magique dont ils se souviendront quand ils seront plus grands. Je les imagine à table à Noël dans 30 ou 40 ans: “tu te rappelles les Noëls chez l’oncle Stéphane? C’était quand même la belle époque…”

Mon menu est déjà prêt et j’en suis à l’étape de la recherche d’idées déco. Ce qui m’intéresse le plus cette année, ce sont les couronnes, les cartes de table, les bougies et les cookies…

J’ai commencé un tableau sur Pinterest où je jette toutes les idées qui me paraissent intéressantes. Vous pouvez y accéder en cliquant ICI. Je complèterai le tableau au fur et à mesure de mes recherches.

Je m’attend à ce qu’on me demande les détails de mon menu. Il suivent :0) La recette du gravlax est quelque part sur le blog. Cliquez sur le mot pour y être redirigé. Les autres recettes sont aussi sur le blog, mais je dois les remettre au goût du jour… N’allez pas les consulter, les photos sont très laides et ne vous donneront pas envie!

  • Apéritif: Foie gras mi-cuit et Sauternes + Tempura de ghambas avec sauce aigre-douce piquante
  • Entrée: Gravlax fait maison et sauces assorties (Graves blanc)
  • Premier plat: Calamars à l’Américaine (Graves blanc)
  • Second plat: Souris d’agneau au cèpes, Porto, raisins et vinaigre balsamique (Pomerol)
  • Fromages de chez Pierre (Médoc)
  • Buches de chez Lopez (Champagne et Sauternes)

38 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve no doubt in my mind that any family affair that you host would be most memorable. Those children are darn lucky to have an Grand Uncle like you!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are sweet! 🙂

  2. PotSoup says:

    Its been some time since I visited your blog or saw your posts. Your posts are prettier than ever and this one especially beautiful. A lot of people live the ‘good life’ but very few can document it is so wonderfully. The posts where the photos are yours : The portraits have emotions, the still life excellent lighting and the food renders you speechless.

  3. TORIE SONNEGA says:

    In my family we have had the children draw/paint/design their own place mats.  This keeps them active for a while and if you provide prizes for them a little friendly competition.  The following year when they come over they will find their place mats hanging on a special wall and it starts all over.  It is good to start when they are young.  For the older ones we had them make napkin rings to match the china.  This was always something the girls loved and they got to hear stories about the china and relatives that are long departed.    (We are Austrian and have had family china handed down in the family for over 75 years, to include Dresden, Limoges, Rosenthal).   Hope this might spark some ideas for your family children. Toria

  4. More a wonderful experience than a mere event, your Christmas dinner.

  5. ohlidia says:

    Oh Stephane… wish I was part of the family! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so sweet! Let’s get married then! Just kidding 😉 🙂

  6. Spoon Feast says:

    Lovely! I’m sure your event will be remembered fondly by all for a very long time.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I hope you’re right, and if they don’t I don’t mind. At least I will have had fun preparing and hosting the thing… 😉

  7. Francesca says:

    Tye food is one thing, but I agree,the décor is so important and sets the mood for the occasion. I found a few little gems from your Pininterest board which suit my Southern Hemisphere setting.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am so glad you liked the post Francesca!! 😉

  8. juliabarrett says:

    Beautiful! Wish I could be there!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I wish you could too! But I have the feeling we’ll meet for real someday… 😉 🙂

  9. Beautiful, Stephane. Just lovely! Warmly – Shanna

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Shanna! I just can’t wait for Christmas this year. And since it’s at my house, I must say I’m a little nervous about it all… 😉

      1. Stéphane – Good luck. You will be busy! But it will be a fabulous time, for sure. Warmly – Shanna

  10. Raphaelle says:

    What a lovely post. J’adore Noel, le moment de l’année ou on partage vin et diner a volonté avec la famille. Me tarde vivement!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Moi aussi! Les Américains ont Thanksgiving, mais pour nous c’est Noël et pi c tout 😉

  11. elsonsequeira says:

    Wow!! Stephane, Im sure the newphews and nieces will remember this christmas for a long time.. The menu you have planned is delish. I can almost feel Christmas has come……

    P.S: Am I allowed to gate crash? 😛

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hi Hi, you can try! After all there is lamb on the menu, so you see I’m all ready for you 😉

  12. But of course it will be a Christmas to be remembered, Stephane. Absolutely lovely!

  13. Beautiful,Stephane. And your menu sounds superb. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can start o Christmas, my favorite holiday of the year. AND everyone will be home plus one s-i-l and one friend of the family. Have to start baking soon. 🙂


    1. My French Heaven says:

      You see, we don’t have Thanksgiving over here and that makes Christmas all the more important to us… I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!! 😉

      1. I did. We have much for which to be thankful, no matter the day. However, Christmas is my favorite holiday and I can’t wait to start getting ready now that we’re back.

  14. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Such wonderful decorating ideas too – thanks for sharing them.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are welcome Vicki! I really like the wreath ideas I’ve found…

  15. You will be creating wonderful memories Stephane. For my children Christmas is all about getting together with their cousins and second cousins for a crazy day of feasting, swimming,( its summer over here) and touch football. Every year we start at midday and finish up well after midnight. We’ve passed the baton for organizing the day to my generation now to make it easier for he grandparents and great aunts and uncles. This week I had the very great honor of preparing the Christmas pudding under the strict supervision of my husband’s aunt. She has been making the pudding for 50 years and her recipe dates back to the 1920’s. My niece and daughters helped with the chopping of the fruit and stirring of the bowl so it ended up being a real family effort. I hope we’ve done her proud.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so right! Memories of playing together with the cousins at Christmas are the best, at least for me… I never wanted it to end… 😉 As for your Aunt, I am sure she is very very proud of you all. Family traditions are so so important!!! 😉

  16. ladyredspecs says:

    Stephane, with your deft hand and magnificent eye for detail, I’m sure your Christmas will be perfect! It’s ironic for me that the strongest Christmas traditions are for cold, snowy conditions, we’ll be in the tropics, whew!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are very lucky indeed! We almost never have snow here in Bordeaux and I must say that I miss it a little…

  17. saucygander says:

    I love this, all of it, no way the children will forget magical Christmas gatherings. I still remember Chinese new year and making spring rolls from hand home wrappers, when I was a child.

    I’m also planning the Christmas lunch menu, ick! Maybe I will distract guests by using some of your table setting ideas! 😛

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m sure your dinner will be wonderful. You are being too modest as I am sure you are a very creative person and cook. One look at your blog will show anyone I’m probably right!!!

  18. What a beautiful sentiment…creating a Christmas that your family will remember for years to come! You are right – it is truly about family and those people to whom you love to spend time with…You’re description of being the “Grand Uncle” reminds me of the Nutcracker Ballet – creating a magical wonderful holiday for children. It’s interesting as I was just talking with my oldest daughter (soon 13) about Christmas memories – Her best memories so far was having Christmas eve dinner with our family and close friends who couldn’t get home to family in the States and then having Christmas day dinner at her best friend’s house – For us it was beautiful to blend family and friends. Your decorating ideas look beautiful – I can’t wait to see the final choices and photos. I will be doing the same here and we host my husband’s family and sister and my own mother who will be visiting from the States. For us, it’s about starting new traditions here in France. Thanks for great inspirations!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a lovely comment Jen! I am sure you will create the most amazing new memories and traditions… The only thing I miss here is the snow. I wish we had more snow around Christmas. It tends to bring more magic into the holidays…

  19. Clanmother says:

    I can feel the joy of Christmas coming through the cables! Magnificent!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad! Since we don’t have Thanksgiving here in France, Christmas is it and we aim to make it a grand affair… 🙂

      1. Clanmother says:

        Let’s celebrate!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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